We made it! Fourteen cities in fifteen days and 4,397 miles. There were days when it was a challenge, mostly because of fatigue, but we persevered and completed the mission, raising more than $1,600 for Feeding America in the process which will provide for 17,600 meals. It was time to celebrate.
We slept in a little bit, knowing a very long day was ahead of us, and arrived at the Thermal Club for our last Rise and Shine at 8 AM. The final announcements had just begun, and it was touching to hear an emotional Desiree Ramos, our announcer and Queen of the whole event, describe what we had accomplished. Next up was Thomas Felbermair, vice president of MINI of the Americas, who described the epiphany he had experienced while motoring with us during MTTS. There had been rumors circulating that perhaps this would be the last MTTS, but he made it clear that he understands why we do this and he pledged support to continue in 2018. Yay!
And then it was time to take a group photo. More than 900 people had made the commitment to go all the way, track to track, and this was our shining moment. So many memories, so many friends and so much fun! I will touch on all of this more when I’m home and have more time, but for now here’s the photo.
And then it was time for some racing! We had planned to leave no later than 10 AM, with plans to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on our way to Gallup, NM on the way home, and since I thought we would only be doing parade laps at Thermal, we were going to head out. Then we found out they were giving us hot laps in JCW MINIs and that changed everything. I asked Hope if she was willing to give up the Grand Canyon for a hot lap, and she chose the hot lap! Gotta love a girl who loves racing!
It was time to say our goodbyes and get ready for the long trip home. I tried to remember that sign from a few days back. “Don’t cry because it’s over, be happy because it happened.” It was an extraordinary adventure, one to last a lifetime, and although it was exhausting I would (and probably will) do it again. There is something about the open road, exploring and being a vagabond that really speaks to me. Now all I need is time to do it, and that day is coming…
Although Hope had chosen the hot laps, I wasn’t going to deprive her of the wonders of the Grand Canyon. So with the canyon about six hours away, we headed-out around 11 AM from Thermal. We arrived there just before sunset and stood in awe of more beauty in our country.
We motored four more hours to Gallup, NM and collapsed for the night. It was another great day but with three days left until we were home, we needed a long night of sleep.